Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Down syndrome awareness: AFFECTION

This is one of my favorite pictures of Seth and me because it shows an important aspect of Down syndrome:  affection.  I can't speak for all parents of children with Down syndrome, but Seth is SUPER affectionate.  He can also be SUPER hateful, but I'll save that for another post.  Seth shows affection in many ways:  physically (hugs, high fives, smiles, holding hands, kisses), verbally ("I love you," "You're the best mom ever!"), and practically (being helpful, listening to people's words and/or watching people's body language to see what he can do to be helpful).

That last one showed up just yesterday TWICE.  Usually, Seth likes to cause CRAZY chaos when we go shopping (running away because he loves to be chased or grabbing things that he thinks he wants).  Because of this tendency, if you see Seth and me shopping together, you'll see me pushing a cart with our purchases and pulling a cart with Seth sitting on a pile of pillows and blankets and watching a movie with headphones on.  This is the method that I've found to work the best since shopping is my daytime job, and crazy chaos is not what I get paid for.  Yesterday, Seth was in his cart watching his movie quietly when I realized that I needed two more bags of soup from the very top shelf.  When Seth was still in school, I would've either climbed the shelves to reach the top or taken the extra 15 minutes to find a store employee who could get a ladder to help me.  Now that I get to take Seth with me, though, I don't need to risk my life or look for the employees that seem to be hiding when I need help.  Seth gladly puts down his movie, stands up in the cart, and reaches whatever I need.  He gets HUGE praise for this help, of course, which makes him want to help more.

The second time Seth was helpful yesterday was at Costco.  I didn't have time to go to Costco before noon, so I knew it was going to be too crowded to use the two-cart method.  Seth agreed to help me shop.  I was nervous!!  Seth often agrees to be good and then forgets his promise in less than five minutes.  Yesterday he did not forget!  He really helped me!  He didn't act like a wild animal; he didn't yell at anyone; he didn't knock things off the shelves; he didn't push the cart into other people; he didn't whine about not getting something that he saw and wanted.  He helped me push the cart carefully, got exactly what I asked him to get from the shelves, put them carefully in the cart, waited patiently in the check-out line, and walked nicely to the car with me.  For his shockingly good behavior, Seth got a box of rice krispie treats (one of his favorites).

A side note to this, however, is that Seth's behavior is always on his terms.  He behaves when HE feels like it, and he misbehaves when he feels like it.  There is no reward fabulous enough and no punishment horrible enough to MAKE Seth do or not do something.  He has to decide for himself.  I try VERY hard to offer every incentive to be good and nice, hoping and praying that the rewards for good behavior will be more enticing than the fun of misbehaving.  Seth has his own version of logic, though, so even rice krispie treats aren't always enough to convince him to be good.  I can never underestimate my sweet Seth or assume that I know what he's going to do.  He is more than capable of unbelievably bad behavior . . . and also completely capable of perfect behavior :-)

Saturday, June 3, 2017


I haven't posted in this blog for three years because I've been posting everything on facebook.  Send me a friend request if you want to catch up on what's been happening with the Hofacker family :-)  I'm so tired of the drama on facebook, though, and plan to post here again.

The most recent events of "Michelle's Day" involve graduations.  My mom and stepdad came up to attend Joel's graduation from high school.

 Joel not only graduated from high school, but he also graduated from manual labor summer jobs.  He's working with the children's ministry pastor this summer and loves it.
 Makenzie graduated from summer couch potato/social butterfly to a part-time secretary at church.
 Luke graduated from Seth watcher to carpet cleaner at church/school.  He's not loving that, so growing up isn't quite agreeing with my Lukey Pookey.  With his Bible app, music, dramatized Bible on tape (I was shocked to find out that Fred Meyer is once again selling cassette tape walkmans!!!), and regular visits from Dad, Mom, and Seth, Luke is surviving.
 Seth graduated from Baxter Elementary special education program. . .
 . . . and started "school home" with me as his main teacher.  When he feels like cooperating, Seth is a really good student and learns fairly quickly.
 Summer walks officially began Tuesday, May 30.  Seth and I walk to the church at least once per day to either visit Luke or to pick him up to walk home together after work.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Talking to Seth

Understanding Seth's speech is often difficult, especially when he calls things by special names.  We've adjusted to some of his most common nicknames.  We no longer ask him to put his movies in the cabinet or the hutch.  He puts them in "the brown."  When I want to sit outside with Seth, he always sits in "the blue" (not "the blue chair," just "the blue") and I always sit in "the purple" even though my chair is actually pink.  We don't offer sausage egg biscuits for breakfast because they're called "cheeseburgers."  This also means that when we go to a restaurant, we can't order cheeseburgers because those are for breakfast.  We order hamburgers and whisper to the waitress to please put cheese on it.  When I go to sleep in the boys' room, I have to face Seth or he tells me to "scoot my head!!"  And depending on what his favorite movie of the day is, Seth often doesn't respond to the name "Seth."  Some days he's Scooby, some days he's Megamind, etc.  He also renames everyone else in the house and yells at anyone who dares to use any name but what he's decided for the day.  Today he is "the doctor" because he went to the pediatrician and then to the ENT.  When the ENT's nurse asked what our appointment was for, Seth answered, "Seth Allen Hofacker, DOCTOR."  He thought, of course, that being the doctor entitled him to use all of the doctor's equipment.  There are also several things he says that none of us can figure out.  Today, he held up a toy in the doctor's waiting room that looked like a crane or some other big construction machine.  He was calling it something that sounded to me like "baseball," but he got irritated with me for asking if that's what he said.  I wish there were a class to teach me Seth language so that I could understand everything my sweet boy says!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

outside with Seth

Seth and I were home alone.  After watching several movies, Seth told me that he wanted to go outside :-)
First, he had to clean the snow out of the swing.
Then he could climb in.
Yay -- "I did it all by myself!"
"ok -- enough of that."
Time to climb.
try #1 to get into the tree house
try #2 to get in the treehouse
"Forget the treehouse -- how about this rope ladder."
"Or maybe I could climb up this pool ladder and reach the deck and make Mom freak out."
Falling off the bottom rung of the ladder makes the perfect opportunity to make a snow angel.
He seemed to think I'd be upset about eating snow, but since I didn't mind at all, it was a little less fun.
try #3 to get to the treehouse -- This time, he even asked me to help him get across.  I said no way, of course.  The treehouse is dangerous for Seth.
singing loudly in the silence -- not sure why it was so quiet outside.  There are lots of children who live on the street behind us.  Maybe they're all hibernating.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

my teenager

I was shocked when I saw this picture of Joel wrestling at regions!  I knew he'd been working really hard to make weight all season and that he'd been lifting after practice several days every week.  But I was still surprised that he's gotten so big and muscular!
Because this is how I think of Joel wrestling:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Luke's compassionate decision

Luke:  "When you two die -- no offense -- or move away or I move away, I'm going to go to the pet store or the pound and adopt the ugliest dog there."

Jason:  "You know, you could just move to a different house.  We don't have to die first.  And why are going to buy the ugliest dog?"

Luke:  "Because no one else would adopt it, so it would be there and never get picked.  I'm going to pick that one for my own."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Luke's Legos

Luke wanted pictures from every angle.
This is a canon.

He used spare pieces to copy the picture in his new Lego book.
He made this go cart pretty much all on his own.

The Hofacker Family 2008